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Nov 10, 2004 08:58 PM

Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey?

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Has anyone ever tried this? I'd love try it this year but am not sure how to go about it. I think it would be best on a charcoal grill (as opposed to gas) but then again I don't know if I could keep the fire going long enough.

If anyone has done this and has some tips or a recipe, I'd love to hear it!

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  1. Barbequing a turkey is a breeze. I used to have a weber and followed their indirect method of grilling recipe. I now own a smoker/barbeque combo which works a little better because I add charcoals as I go. I also recommend brining, you may want to check previous posts regarding brining, lots of people have had great success with this method.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Tracy L.
      Natalie in Los Angeles

      Thanks so much! That's exactly what I was looking for. One you have to do a pretty small turkey? I was going to buy a Weber to do this on, but it looked like there wouldn't be much room for a big turkey!

      1. re: Natalie in Los Angeles

        I have been cooking a 20-22 lb. turkey on my Weber kettle (not the really small size) for over 25 years. Best way to do - it turns out perfectly every time. Just follow the previous instructions.

      2. re: Tracy L.

        I almost always barbecue my turkey (brined) on my Weber gas grill. Saves space indoors. To add flavor, I put a sheet of tin foil and wood chips under the grate. Just make sure not to get the heat too high, and try to clear space under the bird for indirect -- or otherwise protect it from flare ups. I actually like an herb rub semi-smoked barbecue turkey better than a barbecue sauce or maple rubbed version.

      3. Turkey on the Weber

        The Basics:
        a covered Weber with a 22" grill
        10 lbs. of good quality charcoal
        a set of charcoal rails to keep the charcoal banked along the sides an aluminum drip pan to fit between the rails a cooking rack to hold the turkey long tongs and cooking mitts 15 -16 lb. fresh turkey, unstuffed

        The Turkey cannot be gigantic because the lid will not fit on the barbecue. A good size is under 17 lbs. and fresh rather than frozen.

        Rinse the bird in cold water and pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Rub the skin with vegetable oil.

        Open all the air vents on the bottom of the grill and leave them open during the cooking. Ignite all 10lbs of the charcoal- or start half and add the rest. Start the coals in the middle of the grill, allowing 45 minutes for all of them to light and to be coated with grey ash. Add the remaining briquets.

        Transfer the coals to the sides behind the charcoal rails, using the long tongs and the charcoal mitts. Center the drip pan between the rails. Add about 8 to 10 twigs of applewood, add the grill, add the Turkey on the cooking rack and the Weber Grill Cover/Lid. Open the air vent in the Cover.
        Optional: soak the applewood twigs for 30 minutes before adding or use hickory, almond pear wood or even, walnut shells. or, just use mesquite charcoal.

        Now, sit back and relax.
        There's no need to baste. Leave the barbecue covered and don't peek-lifting the lid releases the heat and will slow the cooking process. So, put it on the Grill and forget it for two hours for a 15 lb. unstuffed bird.

        Remove the bird when the meat thermometer reads 170°F in the center of the breast and 185°F in the thigh. The meat and the juices may be slightly pink, this is characteristic of the smoking process.

        Let the bird rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving. The juices in the Drip Pan will make an excellent gravy.

        The first year that I followed Max's instructions for this grilled Turkey, Will and I went to a movie while the bird cooked and came home 2 hours and 30 minutes later to a perfectly roasted 16-lb. bird! Now, it probably is not a good idea to leave any fire untended. I would have been distraught to come home and find that my house had burned down. But my mom was home at the time and we left instructions with her -not to touch the grill except for unseen emergencies. I always remind everyone not to lift the lid - it is too tempting to check the bird's progress and it does hamper the cooking time.

        Do not be alarmed if the meat looks pink, it is not uncooked. The smoking method turns the turkey flesh pink, just like the pink of a smoked ham.